Posts Tagged ‘europe’

Allow Me…

// June 18th, 2009 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized

Please allow me to demonstrate to you the difference between European “sports” and those of the American persuasion.

European:



American:

….making it too easy, guys. Insert your own Dubya Dubya Two reference here.Pele v. Lawrence Taylor.

/

+1 to Ryan McGuire for his insight.

Polizia! Polizia!

// June 2nd, 2009 // 7 Comments » // Uncategorized


Maybe you’re wondering why I led this post with a picture of Ben Stiller and his perfectly maintained quaff in the blockbuster movie, Dodgeball: a true underdog story. Well let me tell you why, friend. Because that outfit is what the Italian riot police have decided to model their uniforms after. That’s right, the streets of Venice are lined with alternates for the Purple Cobras (or should I say “Viola Serpente”) dodgeball squad. Again, I’m not going to stereotype the entire Italian police, but they did look more ready for an impromptu game of street hockey than a riot. Much to the dismay of the girlfriend, I asked a policeman this question and was met with a concerned, if not quizzical look. Well, it was what I interpreted as quizzical through his dark Armani shades. That’s right: Armani is the preferred standard of eyewear for the men with batons and shields. Not bad. Who says you can’t look runway-ready while also trying to protect and serve. Not this guy.

Bienvenidos a Espana

// April 30th, 2009 // 10 Comments » // Uncategorized

After our 54-7 routing last week, the bye week was met with much anticipation. Packed up my bag and took off to Spain with our TE Ryan. Couldn’t have been a better trip (you see the FWG
speaks Spanish). After visiting every tourist spot possible and setting up my unsuspecting teammate by telling waitresses and bartenders that he wanted to make “sweet, passionate love to them”…this trip: Success!

The Olympic stadium.

Glamour Shots by Deb 50% off for a limited time only.
This is my “playboy” butt pose…@ olympic park

JBurd–in this case paella> NFl Draft
(Interview posted in a few hours)

That would be sheep’s head, sheep’s tongue, sheep/cow stomach, and of course…sheep’s testicles. Ahhhh, a taste of Spain.

 

Welcome to Austria!

// March 3rd, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized

We finally landed in Vienna, and the cultural saturation was pretty incredible. Everything is the same, but yet different, which forces you to examine and assess everything around you. Yes, I just called it “cultural saturation”– the reason we were checking out these 6’1″ Amazonian blondes in every direction.
Hey, blame it on cultural assimilation.
Anyway, we touch down in Vienna, get our bags (about 150lbs total) and go to find our guide, another football player who apparently speaks “excellent American.”
Enter Ramon.
Ramon, for lack of a better word, is hilarious. Wearing a purple Baltimore Ravens hat and shirt.
“American football…eh!?!?” Great. Someone get this kid some Bills’ gear.
Anyway, one of the other players missed his connecting flight, which means instead of taking our chartered bus straight back to Klagenfurt (about 400km away….3 hours) we have to wait. What better to do than go see the city, by bus, at 50mph (excuse me, 85kph).
The next 45 minutes was a blur of “Dis iz Parliament. Dis iz ver ze President lives. Dis iz the Major House.”
Forget asking what a Major is. Or who he is. Or what he does. I tried. It is either lost in translation, or too ludicrous to ask.
This is where it gets funnier; we stop to get some “café.” Its all about the “café” here. Over and over again, “Café?” “Café?!?” Sipping espressos; taking in the day. How incredibly European of me!
I notice at this point, two things. Our bus driver, who looks eerily similar to Santa Claus, is on his third “café.”
This is not American coffee. Okay? As Ramon explains, “Ze American coffee? Ha! Ze American coffee is shit!” This coffee is deep and black as crude oil, and is probably equal parts tar and methamphetamine. I loved it. My head was buzzing in minutes. But here is old Saint Nick putting these things away like they are going out of style.

The second thing I notice is that Ramon keeps asking us if we would like some McDonald’s. I don’t actually see a McDonald’s, but I am sure we could find one. When pressed he declares, “Why, all Americans LOVE McDonald’s.” I’d like to contest him on this point– “how ignorant Ramon!” But alas, as my fat brethren can attest, all Americans do love McDonald’s (and you are lying if you say you don’t).
Finally, hours later, the other American arrives: Ryan, a tight end.
We are on our way.
Three hours and then it is on to the feast of a dinner that we were promised.
Or so I thought.
Five hours later we are at an Autobahn Rest Stop (btw, rest stops in America do not hold a candle to those in Austria). Someone forgot to explain to me the rule that bus drivers cannot drive more than an 1.5 hours before having to stop for 30 minutes. So every one and a half hours we stop, while Kris Kringle slugs more coffee. At this point I am delirious. Slap happy. Thirty hours of travel and 4 hours of sleep will do that to you. So I write myself a pass as I explain this next part.
We started cracking jokes at our driver, because his lack of English, portly stature, and infuriatingly slow driving pace made him an easy target. You know what? I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. Okay?
Put me on the naughty list. At least we had a good laugh.
We finally made it to Klagenfurt, and sat down for a literal feast.
We exchanged jokes about our respective countries. “America is all Dirty Harrys.”
“American beer is, hmmm, how is it…BULLSHIT!”
“Austria: the Sound of Music.”
Which drew rave laughter. “The Sound of Music? Bullshit.” (Bullshit is very popular word apparently). They continued to dispel the Sound of Music stereotype, saying it was unfair and that not everyone could “sing and dance” (or hate the Nazis). Then (and I can’t make this up), the only other party still at the restaurant began to sing. All 13 of them. In perfect harmony. Well, to put it bluntly, I just about shit.
Talk about comedic timing.
There was schnitzal (which tastes very similar to chicken cutlets), sausages, beans, potatoes, poached pears and cranberry sauce, steaks, turkey. And of course, beer. (And yes, also 13 harmonizing Austrians at stage left.)
Then the head of the organization rose. “Coach, I’d like 3 minutes. My name is Manfred I’d like to velcome ze Americans to our proud organization….”

(our morning drive)
Peter is driving. And I’m scared…

Peter: There was an election recently. See the signs?
Rob: Was it local or was it like for the President?
Peter: No it vas for government.
Rob: Oh, okay.

Its Been Too Long…but I’m In Austria

// March 2nd, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Uncategorized

I’ve been up for 28 hours. Excuse me if I’m a little delirous.
Started the trip out on an “interesting” note.
This guy on my flight from Rochester to Chicago decided to slug a few cocktails. And by a few, I mean 8. He passed out drunk, and when we touched down the poor fella couldn’t walk. Actually (more accurately) he couldn’t even function. He stumbled, fell on the plane. And then puked. Some got on the plane, some on the walkway, and even more on my shoes.
Great.
The rest of the trip is a little bit of a blur, but in summary, British Airways was entertainment in itself. “Nod if you’re happy to be sitting in the exit row.”
What? Yah I’m happy.
I was greeted in Austria by our English speaking teammate, Ramon.
Hilarity ensues:
Learning the guys names. Like we are already friends.Well there is ze brothers ze twins. Vornerbacks. And then there is mixtape. We call him mixtape.The players are described by position, but not how they play.”There is Burns the huge lineman, ya! He’s excellent at computers and internet.”And then, “There is Yahn a defensive end. He studied science in school”. You will be stayin’ with the old widow. She’s crazy but she’ll do your laundry. Just like that?

Video coming soon. I need to sleep.

The Day is Almost Upon Us

// February 25th, 2009 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized

Football is a popular sport in Austria, second only to alpine skiing… celebrity status awaits.
For those of you just joining, I am going to play professional football in Europe (now try to keep up). International travel is totally beyond me. My last flight out of the country (Canada doesn’t count) was to Mexico, on which I was sandwiched between two chatty Swedes. A newly wed couple who had claimed the aisle and window seats for themselves and proceeded to have a conversation with me in the middle, totally invading my personal space.
When I asked them if they wanted to trade seats, they laughed at the ridiculousness of that notion. Like I had two heads.
What? and lose the opportunity to annoy you this entire flight? Not a chance. You stay right there and let me talk across you, at a distance where you can taste my hot-Swedish-breath”
That was New York to Mexico.
This is Rochester to Chicago. Chicago to London. London to Vienna. Vienna to Klagenfurt.

That’s right, I’m going to Klagenfurt. I will be playing for a team called the Carinthian Black Lions. Think of it like this, Austria is the country, Carinthia is the state and Klagenfurt is the city. (New York Jets: USA the country, New York the state, East Rutherford the city).

The home page of the Black Lions is HERE. Good luck reading it, it’s all in German. I don’t speak a word of German. So lets break this down:
I am going to:
1. A country I’ve never been
2. With people I don’t know
3. A language I don’t speak
4. On a trip that will take 30 hours to complete.
What’s not to love?

I will be doing video blogs, and taking pictures of the entire experience. So check back often for updates on that and whatever else moves me.

I know I haven’t done this in a while but…
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS (on AUSTRIA):
Just like when I worked at the bar, I used to watch ROADHOUSE to get all jacked up for the occasion. I plan on watching every Arnold Schwarzenegger film, to get jacked up for the Austria-Experience
Before adopting the Euro in 2002 Austria had maintained use of the Austrian schilling from 1939… in case you have any extra schillings laying around.

Did you know…

Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between the ages of three and six years… in case you need to brush up.

Austria’s population estimate in October 2006 was 8,292,322…. in November it was 14.

Arnold Schwarzenegger responds to the following nicknames: Arnie, Austrian Oak, Conan the Republican, Styrian Oak, The Governator, The Running Man, Conan the Governor

Austria: Land of Free, Home of the Lederhosen…

// February 25th, 2009 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized

Stay tuned for an update on playing pro in Austria.

Mailbag!

// February 9th, 2009 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I was wondering what your motivation was for playing football overseas? Are you getting paid, when are you leaving?” -Jake Smyth

Its a good question. Many Layers. Like an Onion. Layers.

My motivation for playing overseas was this: I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the game just yet. Getting hurt in my final season at UConn and not being able to start my last game at the ‘Rent and in the Bowl was not the way I wanted to go out.


I figured that this would be a way to see Europe, and maybe “give back” a little of what I have taken.
Give Back you say? What do you mean?….
Well, part of going to play in Austria means that I will be also involved in spreading the game to local kids and teaching them the finer points of football (read: the finer points of being fat and white). I can’t wait.
Earlier this year I said that I was the last person that would play anywhere but the NFL. Direct quote: “I’d play in the NFL but I won’t bang around the CFL or Arena just to come up short.” Well, now look at me. The truthful answer is this, until the final whistle blows on your last game, in the twilight of your career, you can’t make that call. You won’t understand the emotion that accompanies it being over. Really over. My final whistle came, and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Unfortunately my on field

performance didn’t warrant a direct ticket to the NFL. So this was a great opportunity for me. (that answer is way more than you wanted, isn’t it?)

Yes. I am getting paid. In Euros. It’s not a lot, but its enough for me to be playing 5,000 miles from home, in a country I’ve never been, with a language I don’t speak.

I leave March 1st. I’ll be chronicling the entire experience. Perhaps I’ll change this blog to “Lunn in Lederhosen

.”

Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Something I should be writing about?
Breaking News?
Something Funny?
Email me!



FWG: You’re NEVER Too Old To Look Stupid

// February 4th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Uncategorized

So the off-season training had hit a high point. No drinking, all clean foods and lifting my balls off to try and get ready to play in Europe. There is only so much of this training I can do before I get completely bored. So I found a few ways to entertain myself. This blog is one of them, the other is working one or two nights a week at a campus bar as a bouncer. Pretty easy work, break up a few fights, check a few IDs and go home with some good stories. Of course, this work is somewhat “off the books.” The reason I tell you that was because I got into work and my boss was in the kitchen and told me to “fill out a W-4 form and a new time card.” In retrospect I should have probably given more thought to why I was doing this, but I didn’t. It also happens that last week was my birthday. I had returned that night from a snowboard trip with the girlfriend in which we celebrated my 23rd. Anyway, there I am filling out this form, when my boss yells to me to come out quick. I assumed he was getting swamped at the bar and needed an extra hand. This is what happened next:

The rest of this post by the FWG can be found HERE


Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Something I should be writing about?
Breaking News?
Something Funny?
Email me!

Guten Morgen Football Fans!

// January 20th, 2009 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized

It’s a slow week in sports (and in my personal life). I’ve been sick and trying to train, and the most exciting part of my day was coming home to find my mail box shattered. I could almost respect it if it was a couple of kids playing mail box baseball. Sure, in my teens I rode shot gun with my Aluminum Easton proudly nestled between my legs so I can sympathize with the “Townies’ getting bored on a Wednesday night and taking a little BP on my mail receptacle. But no, I’m even denied that pleasure. The plow took it out.
That’s something people don’t understand. The “off-season” in college football is the most monotonous of the year. There is no one on campus (read: zero female scenery), the routine is exactly the same, day after day. There is literally nothing going on. However, I was emailed my contract, schedule, and information packet from my team in Austria. It was written entirely in German. So that should make for some light reading.
On top of that my girlfriend bought me a book of German phrases (to help me survive while in the country). I have the maturity level of a pubescent 12 year old, so I immediately turned to the “SOCIAL” section, followed by sub-section, “Sex-interaction”. Tremendous. Then I found this little tid-bit, and my day got a little brighter.

Traurig. Ich kann es auf nicht erhalten.

Followed by:

Dies geschieht nie zu mir.

These two phrases of course mean: “Sorry. I can’t get it up” and “This never happens to me”
There they are. Right on the page.
I don’t want to come off as vulgar or un-cooth. But, that’s freaking hilarious. Not only will some dude be completely embarrassed, but also fumbling for his German phrase book trying explain to some Fraulein why he can’t perform. I laughed for a good 15 minutes.